When people think of Michigan sports, they probably think of the Lions, Tigers, Pistons, or Red Wings; the sports on TV that everyone talks about. But there’s another sports team in Michigan that many people have never heard of, the Dearborn Crystallettes, a synchronized skating team that’s been around for decades. The Crystallettes have many different levels of teams, with the highest level being their senior team. Senior is the highest level in figure skating, and has the chance to go to the World Championships, or “worlds”. Synchronized skating, better known as “synchro”, is a dynamic discipline of figure skating that originated in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 1950s. Over the years the sport has evolved to become a beautiful mix of singles skating, pairs skating, and ice dancing. In 2000, the first World Synchronized Skating Championships were held. The Crystallettes senior team has gone to the World Championships in 2004, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017.
The Crystallettes are one of the older “synchro” teams, having been founded in 1993. As stated on their website, they are “One of the most established and decorated teams in the nation”. This statement is backed up by many medals to their name; the 2017 National silver medal, the 2018 National pewter medal, and the 2019 and 2020 National bronze medals in the senior division. In addition to all of these awards, the Crystallettes senior team has been a member of Team USA for over two decades. Here’s what some of the members of the Crystallettes senior team have to say.
Why are you a Crystallette?
Kayla Runestad and Rachel Teets say they skate for Crystallettes because of the family it creates. Rachel expands on that by saying “You have lifelong friends, [and] you get to share your best experiences of your life with the people you love.”
What motivates you during a difficult practice?
Chloe Kokay and Ainsley Lumsden say that their teammates give them the strength to get through practice. Ainsley says that “teammates’ motivational speeches” are helpful. Rachel Teets also cited her motivation as “Personal goals, I think what it would take to get me to world championships and if I’m not doing that I need to step it up.”
What are your goals?
Rachel Teets said her goals are “Definitely to be on the world team, get first at nationals… [and] get on the podium at international [competition].” Chloe Kokay also mentioned a goal that is a theme throughout all of the synchronized skating, which is to get into the Olympics.
Why are you proud of being Team USA?
Rachel Teets says “Probably because all of us have worked our whole lives, and have dreamed about it since we were five years old, to be on Team USA. So, it’s a dream come true for all of us.”
What are your favorite programs?
Kayla Runestad immediately cited Crystallettes senior’s short program from the 2018-2019 season, “Moonlight Sonata”, as her favorite. Rachel Teets enjoyed the long program from the same season, “Maleficent”. Many team members also mentioned the short program from the 2016-2017 season, which was “Lean On Me”. That was one of the programs that qualified the Crystallettes for the 2017 world championships.
Crystallettes 2019-2020 Short Program “Amen”
Crystallettes 2019-2020 Free Program “Black Widow”